Defender says sacking of Julen Lopetegui will not affect Spain’s World Cup and there is no split in the squad
Sergio Ramos took one last look around the room and smiled, an invitation for others to join him. “This looks like a funeral parlour, and tomorrow the World Cup begins,” he said, grinning. Alongside him Fernando Hierro, Spain’s new manager, grinned too.
Together they got up and walked through the door, down the tunnel and out on to the pitch at the Fisht Stadium. Behind the stand, the sun set on the Black Sea; before it, Spain prepared for their opening night. Hierro stood watching as the ball flew around the rondo. Two and a half days before, still Spain’s sporting director, he had said he had no intention of coaching his country one day; the day after, his third in the job, he would lead them into the biggest tournament on earth.